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News | Feb. 2, 2023

30-Minute Thursdays

By Derrik Noack

USMEPCOM’s J-3 Policy and Training branch kicked off a new weekly forum, “30 Minute Thursdays,” on Jan 12. The forum provides an opportunity to share information about fast-paced policy updates and guidance released in support of rapidly changing accessions processing.

Hosted on a dedicated Microsoft Teams channel at noon CDT every Thursday, subject matter experts (SMEs) discuss current initiatives, policy updates, software releases and answer any questions that may arise. The weekly meetings allow for more open discussions in the agile recruiting environment.

“We’ve been doing quarterly chalk talks in two-hour long forums, but they didn’t address the fast-paced environment that’s going on,” said Karlie Shrewsbury, management analyst, J-3. “We wanted something that could get information out a little quicker. We decided to take a little time each week, reach out to the field and just make it a big collaborative session.”

Topics are gathered in a variety of ways for the recurring forum. If there are any pertinent issues, or things people have been struggling with, headquarters personnel provide training on those subjects. MEPS personnel can reach out to their Sector with topic suggestions. The “30 Minute Thursdays” sessions will also address upcoming changes to help personnel stay ahead of the curve.

“If Accession Policy puts out a change to something, we want to utilize this forum to let personnel know beforehand,” said Michael Hughes, management analyst, J-3. “We don’t want the MEPS to open an email one day and then see the change in an Info Message. What we want to do is give them a heads up.”

This effort is in collaboration with Eastern and Western Sector Operations, along with the directorates. SMEs remain online beyond the scheduled 30 minutes for questions or continued discussion. Attendance is highly encouraged (but not mandatory) and is open for all USMEPCOM employees to participate. The first session had 67 personnel in attendance and grew to 87 its third week.

“Any MEPS personnel are encouraged and invited to attend,” said Hughes. “We’ve seen growth each week and it’s still going up. It’s just a good tool all around for those involved in accession policy.”

Shrewsbury said the meetings could go down to occurring bi-weekly, if there aren’t as many topics to cover, but the program is here to stay. Personnel with impending questions or concerns should still utilize the War Room and their Chain of Command.